Fall Scenario Tour – the First Stop
This fall I put myself through approximately 2500 miles of highway travel to play some of the best scenario paintball on America’s east coast. The journey begins with my first stop – Adventure Beach Paintball on the coast of North Carolina. After catching the reunion tour for Guided by Voices in Athens, Georgia, I pointed my tired 94 Civic east and drove to a resort in North Myrtle Beach for a day of walking on the beach, soaking in the hot tub, and enjoying affordable off-season rates before gearing up to throw down at one of my favorite scenario fields.
Their game took on an alternate history slant, imagining a possible past where the planned invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, actually took place. Had that invasion launched, casualties had been estimated in the millions on both sides, as the entrenched Japanese were prepared for a protracted staunch defense of their homeland. For this paintball version, the game began with an entrenched Japanese force controlling Adventure Beach’s city field while the invading Allied forces ran aground in simulated beach landings. The Marines knew from looking at the set-up that they would have an uphill battle with only a narrow window for entering the city, but couple that with an aggressive Japanese side eager to push the fight forward, and the opening battle did not go well for the invading force.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
Only three members of team Capital Offense made the trip for this game, but we joined up with paintball veteran and media icon, Josh Silverman, to form a small team ready to do battle for the Japanese side. After the Marine wave broke against our wall of paint in the opening mission, the game moved to the rest of Adventure Beach’s fields for several large phases that would take us through the day. Within each phase the teams had specific goals to accomplish – areas to attack or defend, or props to secure – that progressed the storyline. Over the course of the day, the Japanese racked up a considerable advantage, both in terms of points and controlled real estate, and while their Allied opponents bravely rallied late in the afternoon, even this morale-boosting comeback didn’t give their overall score enough of a boost to regain their lost ground. Paintballers rewrote history at Adventure Beach, but more importantly they got to throw down in a spirited, competitive, and ultimately friendly day of paintball.
Foolybear on the Frontlines
I have three stories from this game – one from the beginning of the day, one from the middle, and one towards the end of the event.
After repulsing the Allies in their beach assault, my small squad (me, my daughter – foolycub, Josh Silverman, and Dwayne Humphries from Capital Offense) was assigned the task of taking the large pyramid fort in the center of the field. While the fort can be assaulted from all sides, it offers defenders plenty of hard cover and small shooting ports, and taking it isn’t an easy task. We immediately got bogged down in our initial move to creep through the thick brush to assault the pyramid from the left, so we switched tactics and approached from the most direct route – straight on to the front door. After clearing the outer perimeter, we faced a run across a road to a set of inner walls near to the pyramid. Here’s where I want to give props to some players. I watched a few make the insane dash for the inner walls, only to see them walk away mere moments after reaching cover. I figured the shooters in the top floor were marking them as they crossed the open road, so I got foolycub to get her ETHA ripping towards the highest shooting ports while I sprinted for the protection of those inner walls. I made it unscathed, but I quickly learned why no one lived long in that spot. On the opposite side of the walls to my right, a single prone Allied player was one-balling everyone who reached cover, and I got to be the next in line. As I left, my crew figured it out and went over-the-top on him, and by the time I got back, we held the pyramid. Credit not only goes to that one calm player who held off our advance by taking a dangerously close position and not blowing his cover, but it also goes to the eliminated players on the Japanese side who played by the rules and didn’t reveal his location as they walked away.
Playing Out of My Mind
For the third phase of the game, I assembled a team of approximately a dozen who inserted behind enemy lines with the plan to ambush the main body of Allied shooters. Later in the day I had a number of players who approached me to congratulate me on barrel-tagging an entire squad of enemies. If it had been one person, I might have passed it off as mistaken identity, but when one after another came by to congratulate me, I had to wonder, as I have no memory at all of that happening, but I did discover a painful bruise on my head from a hit that I don’t remember getting either, so who knows? I can hardly remember anything about that mission. The moral of this story – keep your head covered kiddies.
On a side note, while talking to players in the staging area, a small lizard scuttled up my HDE pants. He stayed on my leg for a few minutes, gradually changing color to match the pattern, and then seemed happy to remain well-hidden. How’s that for a glowing recommendation for a camo pattern?
I finished my day of paintball on my stomach, making a long, low crawl into enemy-controlled territory. One of the best things about Adventure Beach is the variety of terrain. It varies from cities to woods, from swamps to forts, from trails to impassable tangles to mazes of bunkers, and there are a few sections where my HDE uniform blends perfectly. I wrapped up the game with an hour-long creep, something I haven’t done in months, but racking up eliminations without being spotted is always entertaining, provided I have the patience to go through with it. Great way to end a great game.